Oral History Center - UC Berkeley Library

John Coons: Jack Coons: Law, Ethics, and Educational Finance Reform

Coons, John
Meeker, Martin
John Coons: Jack Coons: Law, Ethics, and Educational Finance Reform
John Coons was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1929. He received his B.A. in history at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and graduated from Northwestern Law School, where he was Order of the Coif and managing editor of the Law Review. After practicing before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, he returned to Northwestern, where he taught for 12 years. In 1968 he joined the faculty of the Berkeley Law School and stayed there until his retirement in 1994. Coons authored several influential studies on educational finance reform with fellow Berkeley Law professor Stephen Sugarman, including: Private Wealth and Public Education (1970) and Education by Choice: The Case for Family Control (1978). In this interview, Coons discusses his upbringing and education, and the formative influence of his Catholic family and faith. He recalls his years on the faculty of the Northwestern Law School and his introduction to the system by which schools are financed and his subsequent ideas for reforming that system. He also tells of his role in several important legal cases pertaining to school financing, including Serrano v. Priest (1971) and San Antonio School District v. Rodriguez (1973), and his interest in creating a system for providing parents with vouchers to send their children to a school of their choice.
Subject area(s):
Education and University of California
Politics, Law, and Policy
Interview date(s):
Education and University of California - Individual Interviews
Coons, John. "John Coons: Jack Coons: Law, Ethics, and Educational Finance Reform." Interview by Martin Meeker in 2015. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2016.